5 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Newborns
As we begin our celebration of Breastfeeding Month in August, we are joined by Anne Margolis of Home Sweet Home Birth, equipping us with important knowledge in how in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of the transition of mothers from pregnancy into the postpartum stage and plays a large role in the new infants' health. Anne is here to provide us with tips on nurturing both mother and baby and advice on helping mothers to be more connected to their bodies.
Are you prepared to breastfeed your baby? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1) Prepare in advance with education and 2) Get support
Whether you are expecting one baby, multiples, or plan to tandem nurse, the best way to prepare to breastfeed is the same as the best way to have the most positive birth outcome: through education during pregnancy when you do not know about it! More and more mamas today approach their birth full of information and support, which is great! But many mamas do little to prepare themselves for breastfeeding their precious little ones before they are faced with it postpartum. In addition, It is much easier when you are determined, surrounded by breastfeeding mamas and support - which you can seek out while pregnant, and have a natural unmedicated birth. It is harder without all that, but absolutely doable. My Love Your Birth online course goes into much more detail about breastfeeding and preparing yourself in advance with knowledge and support, the hows and whys, and what you can do to prevent potential common breastfeeding mistakes and set yourself up for optimal success.
Breastfeeding is a magical experience for the entire family, and it's one I am proud to support whole heartedly - especially as it's so incredibly beneficial for mamas and babies, on many levels. I am determined to help mamas and babies get the support they need so their breastfeeding journey is a successful one. I have helped thousands of mamas on their breastfeeding journeys, and am happy to share the wisdom from my education and those experiences with you.
Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer
Breastfeeding is a natural process healthy mamas and babies know how to do. But it’s not always easy. Natural, unfortunately, doesn’t necessarily equal easy, especially in the beginning, and for first timers! It is a learned instinct, but once you and baby get it, it can be so easy, even pleasurable and incredibly worth it. While many do get it right away, for others there is a learning curve that takes a few weeks to get into your groove, and sometimes extra support is needed - especially if it's your first experience and you are not surrounded by mamas breastfeeding, as women were throughout history since the beginning of time, and still are in many parts of the world. It is the way all mammals naturally feed their babies.
This mama pig is so full of the oxytocin and prolactin hormones, she is completely relaxed and in pig mama bliss. Animals just know what to do. In unusual cases, if a baby animal is having difficulty in the wild, they did not survive. And that is simply part of wildlife reality. If an animal is owned by a person, they usually help the rare little one that is having trouble. Humans who are passionate about breastfeeding but facing challenges are fortunate to have all sort of lactation support, wet nurses, donor milk banks, pumping, storage and alternative feeding methods to get babies breast milk.
3) Start breastfeeding within the first hour postpartum, or as early as possible by 4) placing skin to skin and allowing for the breast crawl
The first hour after postpartum is an ideal time to start breastfeeding as babies are naturally wide awake, alert, and have strong suck, root and crawl reflexes - from the hormones of undisturbed childbirth. Make sure the lights are dim and the room is quiet. Place baby skin to skin on your abdomen or chest.
Healthy babies have reflexes to actually crawl up and find their way to the breast, find the nipple and start sucking on their own. It takes patience but there is no rush - and it's truly amazing to watch. Check out movies like "The Breast Crawl." There are plenty like this on you tube. Healthy postpartum mamas have a huge heart, the maternal instinct to love and care for their babies enhanced by the hormonal cocktail circulating in the body after undisturbed birth; and their breasts are filled with colostrum - commonly referred to as liquid gold, that transitions in a few days to breast milk which completely meets your babies' needs at least for the first 6 months and beyond.
5) Make sure baby's latch is wide
It's optimal for them to be allowed and encouraged to do their crawl up to your breast, but yes, there are times when some assistance is needed. But don't give up. If baby is falling asleep and your efforts to wake baby have not worked, or baby does seem frustrated and is starting to get fussy trying to find your nipple, there are things you can do to help. You will have an easier time getting her to breastfeed before the crying starts. Sit up and get yourself comfortable with pillow support as needed, hold your baby in one bent arm so his face is directly in front of your breast a tad below your nipple, leaving your other arm free.
When your baby is held close, facing your nipple, wait for baby to open his or her mouth wide enough to get a good latch to breastfeed. A good latch includes as much of your areola as possible - the darker circular area surrounding your nipple, where the breast milk is contained, as well as your nipple, where the milk is released into baby's mouth. Baby needs to compress and squeeze the milk out of your milk sinuses in the areola prior to sucking - which are all part of the breastfeeding process.
Sometimes baby's latches are occasionally shallow in the early learning stages, which usually means baby is sucking mostly on the nipple; this not only feels painful, but also baby is not getting the proper amount of milk needed. If that happens, press down on the nipple with your finger to release baby's strong latch and try again. Until you both get the hang of it, you may need to hold your breast as this mama is doing, and slide the nipple up and down against baby's lips. This will stimulate baby to open wide and then you bring baby to your breast to feed. Practice and patience do make perfect and are well worth it.
It is crucial to have lactation support available. Sometimes all you need is some wisdom from other seasoned breastfeeding moms or your local La Leche leader. Often guidance from your midwife does the trick. If not, and more extensive assistance is needed, do not hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant. Make sure to ask that needed help right away, as the earlier breastfeeding is established the better for both you and baby. It does take a village of love. We must bring back that village.
"The newborn baby has only three (main) demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~ Grantly Dick-Read.
Anne Margolis CNM of HomeSweetHomebirth.com
Let Me Help You Not only Rock Your Breastfeeding, but also....Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life. Whether you're a first time or experienced momma, Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas. Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams. And have a blissful birth wherever you are. More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration! Let me show you how to…
- Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
- Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
- Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
- Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
- Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
- Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth
Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported women with locally for over 20 years in my private practice and I’ve poured all of my love, passion, knowledge and experience into creating something truly special for you
To learn more, visit: LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!